There are not many statues of Queen Elizabeth II around the world. If Wikipedia is to be believed (2015) – nine, and two of these are in Australia. One is in Brisbane and is rather unique in that it is the only statue in the world of the Queen holding a handbag. The other one is here in Parliament House or rather on a Terrace outside the main building (accessed from within the building).
I have to say I actually find it a bit odd, even wrong, when I see statues of living people as I normally associate statues as memorials to the dead. I suspect most people hold this view and hence the lack of statues of the reigning Queen compared to those of her predecessors.
Statue-wise, I like it and think it a rather fine piece of bronze work. It is the work of Australian Sculptor, John Dowie, and was unveiled by the Queen, herself, when she opened Parliament House on 9 May 1988.
On the face of it, it seems rather peculiar that this statue is stuck out on a terrace beside the café and has not been given pride of place in the foyer or some other central location within Parliament. A stark contract to the placement of a statue of George V in Old Parliament House.
Clearly, to me at least, this is a classic example of political correctness gone mad. Notwithstanding that the Queen is Head of State of Australia and a referendum a in 1999 confirmed the desire of Australians that she remain so her statue remains on the Terrace and as far as I can see it doesn’t even rate a mention on the Parliament House website.
Such is the paucity of official information about this statue that fork-lore and urban myth has suggested that the sculpture is, in fact, a reject from a UK sculptor who dumped it on Canberra and then committed suicide when he realised he had, apparently, made it with the left foot / leg forward instead of the right – a big no no!
The statue is located on the Queen’s Terrace outside the café and is certainly worthy a look on your visit to Parliament House.
Details on Parliament House opening hours and how to get there can be found on my Parliament House entry. As noted there, the entrance to Parliament House is free of charge.
Address: Capital Hill
Phone: 02 6277 5399